This week's roundup of independent and foreign movies
features an award-winning movie from a Thai auteur, the directorial debut of a
sitcom star, and disturbing acts of violence from Korea.
If you're one of those pasty-faced people called
cinephiles, then no doubt you've heard of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, even if
you can't quite pronounce his name. Weerasethakul has built a reputation for
making exquisite, hallucinatory, meandering tales that mix documentary with
fiction and dreams with reality. His latest movie, "Uncle Boonmee,"
which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is a similarly fragmented
and loopy affair featuring out-of-body experiences, monkey gods, and amorous
catfish. This is either your cup of tea or it's not, but adventurous viewers
might just find themselves enraptured
With Oscar season now solidly in the rearview mirror,
we're starting to see the first wave of movies from this year's Sundance fest
hitting theaters. "Happythankyoumoreplease," the preciously titled
directorial debut from Josh Radnor, the star of TV's "How I Met Your
Mother," is precisely the sort of movie you might think of when you think
"Sundance movie" -- a quirky "Seinfeld"-esque romantic comedy
about the lives and loves of brooding, attractive 20-somethings (and it has a
cameo from Richard Jenkins). The movie also stars Kate Mara, Malin Akerman, Zoe
Kazan, and Tony Hale.
Also this week is another movie that premiered at Sundance,
though it's about as far away from "Happythankyoumoreplease" as you
can get. Choi Min-sik (Old Boy) plays a homicidal sociopath who happens to kill
the fiancée of secret agent Soo-Hyun (G.I. Joe). When Soo-Hyun vows revenge,
horrific violence soon ensues. Prior to making this movie, director Kim Ji-woon
was most famous for making such art house hits as "The Good, the Bad, the
Weird" and "A Tale of Two Sisters." This film is similarly
well-crafted, though definitely not for the weak of stomach.
See the trailers to this week's Indie picks: